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Von .mid Library C ontempor ary International Issues Contending Perspectives edited by Steven L. Lamy Lyiine Rienner Publishers 4 Boulder & London 12 STEVEN L LAMY or bridge builders in the system. Countries such as Canada and the Netherlands are playing important mediating roles in arms and security debates between the superpowers and in discussions between rich and poor states. As the interna- tional system matures and becomes more complex, nation-states seem to be as- suming different roles and responsibilities. Finally, these transformations have resulted in a change in the distribution of power within and between nation-states. The stability in the system that has been guaranteed by the nuclear-power balance, and facilitated by the emergence of both formal and informal rules of economic behavior, has contributed to the emergence of new economic powers such as Japan, Taiwan, and West Germany. The persistence of inequality within Third World nation-states and the continu- ing power struggle between the United States and the USSR, which is played out in the developing areas of the world, have also had a profound impact on power dimensions. Obviously, as citizens and their leaders accept a broader definition of national security, including military, economic, political, and socio-cultural dimensions, the definitions of power and influence will also change. This will also mean a change in the hierarchical structure of the system. The need for international awareness is greatly increased in this more pluralistic contemporary international system. With an expanded policy agenda, a greater number of actors competing for resources and opportunities, and a more extensive decisionmaking process,f he chances for controversy and disagreement increase appreciably] An informed decision in a policy area re- quires a more comprehensive understanding of the issues. In the case of the United States, it is very difficult for leaders and citizens alike to accept the change in status from that of hegemon to that of one of several principal powers. One reaction is to continue acting like a hegemon, disregarding changes in the international system and acting unilaterally to further U.S. interests over the interests of others. This policy attitude will not benefit the United States in the long run. A long-term strategy suggests the need to develop an informed re- sponse, which carefully and critically assesses the arguments presented by actors throughout the system. This is the basis for advocating a worldviews ap- proach to the analysis and evaluation of controversial international issues. The assumption is that there is not only a U.S. or Soviet perspective on the issues. A thoughtful student of international affairs must consider the interests and ideas of weak and powerful actors alike. Similarly, political leaders will find it in- creasingly difficult to represent their constituencies and secure their national interests without reference to competing interests and alternative perspectives.interests without reference to competing interests and alternative perspectives.... View Full Document

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